Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mission Kashmir - Srinagar (Day Two)

The plan for the next day was to go sight seeing around Srinagar. After a lot of persuation, all of us woke up from our peaceful sleep. We had hired a Qualis to take us around the city. We started the tour with a visit to the Shankaracharya temple set on a small hill. The view from the hill itself was amazing. We could see the whole of Srinagar city, including the beautiful Shikaras and houseboats on Dal lake. From the temple we moved to the dal lake itself, which was really really beautiful. We took a 3 hour ride in a Shikara which was totally worth the 700 bucks we paid for it. The shikara took us all around the lake including all the local attractions like "The Char chinar" and "The vegetable market". The lake itself is right in between the valley surrounded on all sides by mountains. Together with lotus plants and water lillies, the view was completely breathtaking. One of the cool things which I noticed was mobile shops on shikaras. These ranged from fruit sellers to people selling kesar, ornaments etc.. to tourists.

We ended the shikara trip with some good food at one of the decent hotels near dal lake. Not to mention the boys were really lazy after that, but we somehow managed to end up in some of the famous gardens of Srinagar. We visited the Pari mahal, mughal gardens and the Shalimar Gardens. The gardens were full of roses and various other flowers amounting to over 50 different colours. Being in such a beautiful garden right in middle of a valley was simply mind blowing. There were quite a lot of snaps being clicked since we had two D-SLRs with us along with a point and shoot camera.

From the gardens we moved on to the famous Hazratbal shrine, situated on the shores of Dal lake. A lot of us were awed by the sceneic beauty of the place itself, a source of some of our best snaps. We ended the day with some "light" dinner at the guest house, which for some reason included Mutton rogan josh as a part of its lightness !

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